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Apple Watch lifesaving features
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Technology

An Apple Watch detected a tumor and saved her life — here’s how it can do the same for you

Apple Watch is among the bestselling smartwatches in the world, and for good reason. As a health tracker and communication tool, it changed how we look at watches. But this ingenious little gadget is capable of so much more.

When a man fell unconscious with no one around to help, his Apple Watch sprang into action. Tap or click here for what happened next.

Apple has added more health and safety features over the years, and this latest report is a true miracle of the lifesaving potential of tech.

It started with an irregularity

A 67-year-old woman in Maine was receiving warnings from her Apple Watch that her heart was in atrial fibrillation. Kim Durkee told CBS News that it happened two nights in a row. On the third night, she acted and went to the emergency room. If doctors didn’t find anything wrong, she would “toss the watch.”

ER doctors found that her heart was indeed beating erratically. The cause was myxoma, a rare and fast-growing tumor. It was cutting off blood supply to her heart and would have led to a stroke.

The doctors asked Durkee how she knew that she had atrial fibrillation. “Because my watch told me,” she answered. Durkee was referred to Mass General, where she underwent open heart surgery for five hours to remove the four-centimeter tumor.

During her recovery at home, she was contacted by other Apple Watch owners who heard her story. She purchased the watch to help her exercise and to call paramedics if she falls. She did not expect it to diagnose a deadly tumor!

RELATED: 10 Apple Watch tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner

Enable these features now

Before enabling health and safety features, update your Apple Watch and iPhone to the latest software versions:

  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > General and tap Software Update.
  • To update your Apple Watch, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then tap the My Watch > General > Software Update.

Now let’s start with heart rate notifications, which work on Apple Watch Series 1 and newer:

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Tap the My Watch tab, then tap Heart.
  • Tap High Heart Rate, then choose a BPM (beats per minute). 
  • Tap Low Heart Rate, then choose a BPM.
  • Your Apple Watch will notify you if your heart rate remains above or below your chosen BPM.

How to enable irregular rhythm notifications, which works on Apple Watch Series 1 and later:

  • Open the Health app on your iPhone.
  • Tap the Browse tab, then go to Heart and toggle on Irregular Rhythm Notifications
  • You can turn irregular rhythm notifications on or off in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone: Just open the Apple Watch app, tap the My Watch tab, then go to Heart > Irregular Rhythm.

The ECG app can record your heartbeat and rhythm using the electrical heart sensor on Apple Watch Series 4, Series 5, Series 6 or Series 7. Here’s how to set it up:

  • Open the Health app on your iPhone.
  • You may get a prompt to set up the ECG app. If not, Go to the Browse tab, select Heart, choose Electrocardiograms (ECG) and tap Set Up ECG App.
  • After you complete the setup, open the ECG app to take an ECG.

To enable fall detection on Apple Watch SE or Apple Watch Series 4 or newer:

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and tap the My Watch tab.
  • Tap Emergency SOS and turn Fall Detection on.
  • If your Apple Watch detects a hard fall, it taps you on the wrist, sounds an alarm and displays an alert. You can choose to contact emergency services or dismiss the alert by pressing the Digital Crown, tapping Close in the upper-left corner, or tapping “I’m OK.”

Keep reading

10 Apple Watch tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner

Bad news if you have one of these older iPhone or iPad models

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